Alabama Continues to Produce Successful Musicians

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By Ashley Thompson

Eight finalists are left on American Idol and three of them are from Alabama. In past seasons, Alabama contestants have faired well, turning their stints on the show into careers.

CJ Harris, Dexter Roberts and Jess Meuse are three of eight hopefuls left vying for the title of American Idol. All three contestants are from Alabama, a state with rich musical history.

Hank Williams, the singing kid, helped put Montgomery on the music map.

"They come to Montgomery because they think of Hank Williams here like they do Elvis to Memphis," says Beth Petty, Director of the Hank Williams Museum.

Petty says Hank was so popular because he was a genuine artist.

"He was very sincere when he wrote these lyrics," she says. "He wrote and told stories about peoples lives that they didn't used to talk about."

And 61 years later, Hank's music is still as popular as it was back then. More recent Alabama artists like Ruben Studdard, Alabama Shakes and The Band Perry have also made waves in the music industry. Entertainment reporter Jimmy Carter says he thinks he knows why Alabama continues to produce musicians.

"I think church, a lot of people have a root somewhere where they sang in church or they had families that were religious and music was a part of their life from a very early age."

And Carter may be right. Micky DeLoach is a local singer who says he got his first guitar in the fifth grade.

"Music, I mean it's a passion," he says.

DeLoach says he's spent time in the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio perfecting his craft and now travels around the state performing.

"Jimmy Buffet has a song, 'I don't play my music for money, honey. I play my music for me' and that's the way we all are if you're really dedicated.

And if you are dedicated, Carter says you too can leave a mark on Alabama's music scene.

"Nat King Cole is from here," he says. "Wilson Pickett from Prattville Alabama. Hank Williams, the granddaddy of country music. We've had some of the greatest people in the roots of music from here and some of the greatest music ever produced has come out of here." 

And be sure to catch the Academy of Country Music Awards right here on CBS Sunday at 7PM. You may just see some artists from Alabama there. 



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